USGBC Releases Annual Ranking of Top 10 States for LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual ranking of the Top 10 States in the nation for LEED with the state of Illinois placing first.

The per-capita list highlights states throughout the country that are making impactful strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources; save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

“Every story about a green building is a story about people,” says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “USGBC’s annual recognition of the Top 10 States for LEED goes beyond gross square feet or number of projects and factors in LEED’s potential in a given state to be part of the daily life of the state’s residents. This per-capita approach tells a great story about how LEED has become an important benchmark in the transformation of the nation’s built environment. LEED-certified buildings and the innovations they have driven contribute substantially to our national economic growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found. We commend the business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals in each of these states for making the commitment to create a healthier, more sustainable future.

“Illinois has so many committed business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals who are using LEED to transform their built environment, producing many innovative spaces that will improve the health of our shared planet, as well as the health of the people who use those buildings every day,” adds Fedrizzi.

The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2014. Illinois certified 174 projects representing 42,457,254 square feet of real estate, or 3.31 square feet per resident, in 2014.

USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building, allowing for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and, accordingly, number of overall buildings.

“Illinois has long been a green building trend setter where companies have made sustainability part of their business plan,” says Brian Imus, executive director of USGBC Illinois Chapter. “As a result, Illinois is now positioned to be a leading exporter of sustainable technology and design to emerging markets where demand for LEED is growing exponentially.”

A sample of notable projects certified in Illinois in 2014 include:

There are more than 487 USGBC member organizations with a headquarters in Illinois and more than 10,273 LEED credential professionals across the state.

The full ranking of the top 10 states includes:

 Rank  State  Projects certified in 2014  Square feet LEED certified in 2014  Per-capita square footage
 
1
 
Illinois
 
174
 
42,457,254
 
3.31
 
2
 
Colorado
 
102
 
15,816,498
 
3.15
 
3
 
Maryland
 
132
 
15,583,423
 
2.70
 
4
 
Virginia
 
150
 
18,617,712
 
2.33
 
5
 
Massachusetts
 
99
 
14,662,950
 
2.20
 
6
 
Hawaii
 
30
 
2,657,808
 
1.95
 
7
 
California
 
517
 
69,762,936
 
1.87
 
8
 
Georgia
 
87
 
17,748,781
 
1.83
 
9
 
Minnesota
 
39
 
9,511,684
 
1.79
 
10 (tied)
 
Arizona
 
82
 
11,152,201
 
1.74
 
10 (tied)
 
New York
 
250
 
33,691,209
 
1.74
 
Not ranked
 
Washington D.C.
 
102
 
17,716,622
 
29.44

(Washington is not ranked, because it is a federal district, not a state.)

Collectively, 1,662 commercial and institutional projects became LEED certified within the top 10 states in 2014, representing 251.7 million square feet of real estate. Worldwide, 4,502 projects were certified in 2014, representing 675.7 million square feet.

More than 26,600 projects representing 3.6 billion square feet of space have been LEED certified to date, with another 42,000 projects representing 8.8 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification. USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system, in the fall of 2013. The latest version continues to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which Forbes Magazine projects could be worth up to $960 billion globally by 2023. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and midrise residential projects; and a simplified submittal process supported by a robust and intuitive technology platform.

USGBC and other Code-, Regulation- and Guideline-setting Bodies Are Increasingly Working with Industry

Earlier this year, the USGBC announced a 16-month extension to register products under LEED 2009, prior to the implementation of LEED v4 on Oct. 31, 2016. The action set off speculation, both off and online, about what caused USGBC to act with some calling for a more in-depth explanation for the delay. But the real reason, most likely, was simply stated in USGBC’s own press release: In a survey taken at GreenBuild in late October, 61 percent of respondents—almost two-thirds of those polled—said they are “not ready” or “unsure” if they were ready to pursue LEED v4 and required additional time to prepare. USGBC said it was also getting the same message from the international community.

The response to the USGBC action tended to fall into two camps: those who said the council was caving to the pressure of industry and those who said USGBC was taking a reasonable action after having put forward a complicated, unworkable and unneeded ratings system. Based on my extensive work with code-setting and regulatory bodies, I see a third option emerging, one that bodes well for the environment and the building sector.

During the past year, as part of my job as associate executive director of the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), I have attended and testified at more than 20 hearings held by a broad range of groups, including the IGCC, SCAQMD (the South Coast Air Quality Management District, overseeing much of Southern California) and ASHRAE. Frequently, I have been accompanied by representatives of our member companies, Firestone, Carlisle and Johns Manville. And often I have been joined by members of industry groups, such as the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition.

Collectively, we have offered our findings on a range of issues that are critical to our industry, such as the importance of climate in the choice of roofing color and the need to preserve the builder’s choice when deciding on reflectivity options and the unique qualities of ballasted roofing that should be considered in any code-setting activities. Our testimony is based on meticulous research, as well as on empirical evidence and firsthand knowledge gained from years of experience in the building industry. Increasingly, we find that we are listened to and that our interaction with code-setting and regulatory bodies is a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, rather than an adversarial give-and-take.

For instance, we worked closely with the Ozone Transport Commission in its efforts to achieve federally mandated clean air standards in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Initially, we pointed out that their proposed regulations would have mandated the use of low-VOC products that were in development but not yet available in the marketplace. And we also demonstrated that the roofing industry would need ample time to train roofing contractors in the use of these new products. We worked with regulators, state by state, and developed a mutually agreed upon seasonal approach. While the process is still ongoing, many state regulators expressed their gratitude for the advice we offered and the expertise we brought to the table.

I am certainly not privy to the inner workings of the USGBC. But their extension of the deadline for the implementation of LEED v4 seems to be part of a trend: The groups who are drawing up codes, regulations, and ratings systems are increasingly working with the building industry and the end results are based on good science and good sense.

NRCA Outlines Roofing-related Provisions of LEED v4

In an effort to help the roofing industry become familiar with the roofing-related provisions of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Version 4, NRCA has released LEED v4: Roofing-Related Provisions. It is intended to provide roofing professionals a broad overview of the roofing-related credits and prerequisites for LEED’s Building Design and Construction and Building Operations and Maintenance categories. In addition, a listing of typical LEEDrelated submittals and what roofing related provisions have changed in LEED v4 versus previous LEED editions also are included. For more information, visit NRCA.net.

RoofPoint’s Initial Growth Rate Exceeds the Relative Growth Rate of LEED

Given the thousands of commercial roofs installed across North America each year and the billions of square feet of opportunity those roofs represent, RoofPoint is only beginning to realize its market potential. The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing is often asked to evaluate how RoofPoint is performing relative to whole building green rating systems. The chart below offers an answer to that question.

RoofPoint compared to other green-building rating systems

Recently, the U.S. Green Building Council, the founder of LEED, released a 13-year summary of LEED-certified projects showing how the program has grown from a handful of buildings in its first year to more than 10,000 projects 13 years later. USGBC has certainly compiled an impressive resume of projects, but the center thinks the most striking fact involves how the first three years of RoofPoint and LEED compare to each other.

As shown in the chart above, RoofPoint’s initial growth rate has exceeded the relative growth rate of LEED significantly. In fact, the roofing industry has driven the number of RoofPoint projects to a level that exceeds what took the entire green building industry six years to pass.

The success RoofPoint has experienced to date is primarily driven by the hundreds of industry leaders who have participated and submitted projects. The center thanks you for helping it launch RoofPoint, and asks that you stay tuned in 2014 as it moves this important program to the next level of achievement with a number of exciting new programs and initiatives.